Kenneth Elroy was born Tuesday, February 6, 1934 in Sullivan Township to William Henry and Matilda (Strucke) Kaufman. He was the eldest of four; Marlene was born February 8, 1937, Janelda on May 17, 1938 and Elaine October 13, 1949. The family farmed just east of Scone and the children went to school at S.S. #9 Sullivan. As with most children of the time, formal education went only as far as grade eight, if one was lucky. Part of Ken’s education also included confirmation classes. He was confirmed at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Chesley by The Rev. Baetz in 1949.
Once Ken was out of school he worked at Krug’s for a bit and then went to work at Rier’s in Chesley. There he stayed for the rest of his career which spanned thirty-eight years. A newspaper picture and caption highlights Ken as service manager at Rier’s. He was being honoured for twenty years of top performance in the General Motors Technicians Guild. The award acknowledged that Ken had completed ten exams in each of the twenty years with a mark of more than eighty in each exam. Ken had been presented a gold watch which he wore until the day he died as well as a certificate and plaque. Over the years he worked his way through the ranks eventually retiring as head mechanic. The following notice was also placed in the local paper for Ken’s sixtieth by Rier’s. The advert also consisted of the cutest baby picture ever! Ken officially retired in 1994.
Who’s turning sixty
On Sunday, February 6th?
Now here’s a clue,
Your car he can fix with glue.
Rumour has it he may someday retire,
So drop by and say “Hi!” at Rier’s.
In the late 1950s Ken married Joan Marie McDonald. The newlyweds rented for a while in Chesley before buying a home on Fifth Street South East. Together they had, and raised, two children, Janice Lynn was born July 8, 1961 and Ronald Kenneth September 15, 1965. During their youth, the kids spoke of sweet stories of family time spent in Grandpa’s bush collecting maple syrup. Unfortunately, in 1992, Joan and Ken separated and then later divorced. In the years that followed Ken met and married Pat Taylor. Divorced again, Ken then came to meet Barbara Murdoch. The year was 2004. Together they shared their life together at their home on Mulock Road.
To know Ken is to know his gift of music. He loved to play the guitar and sang in three different bands over the years, Classic Country, Rainbow Country and Country Sounds. He enjoyed spending time and performing with all his bandmates. Many evenings were spent playing at the Durham, Hanover and Owen Sound Legions, house parties, steam shows, Chesley Fair, Club 86 in Listowel and a variety of other venues. He was an incredible entertainer! Ken’s own taste in music included, big surprise… country music and Janice remembers a lot of Charley Pride playing during her childhood. Apparently, Ken liked anything but Garth Brooks! His love and talent for music were passed down to his children and even grandchildren. Both Jason and Laura, especially, love to play guitar. A great picture portrays his entire family, at Janice’s wedding to Al, posed with guitars!
In addition to his music-making, Ken loved to curl and was a member of the Chesley Curling Club for a number of years. When he could no longer play he loved to watch the sport on TV. While working at Rier’s Ken also took a correspondence course, learning the fine art of fixing electronics – TV and car radios in particular. This hobby, of course, led Ken to be a collector of sorts. He gathered together parts for the radios and TVs he fixed. Whatever Ken turned his hand to Ken could do. In addition, Ken also collected guitars and the occasional gun too!
Deer hunting was yet another passion for Ken. Many, many pictures depict his hunting gang, including brother-in-law Maurice Byers, and their ‘spoils of war’ from Sullivan Township bushes. He loved his pets, dogs and cats both, and they were always welcomed indoors, even the strays he picked up. Ken’s preference was for the larger dog breeds (not the yappy little breeds – hee, hee) and he loved Barb’s Manx cat! Spending time in the backyard off Mulock Road was also enjoyable. One day, in particular, forty-three airplanes were counted in the sky! Imagine!
Ken was clever and exceedingly bright and he loved to do Sudoku puzzles. While he worked on these Barb would often complete crossword puzzles. Denim was Ken’s favourite colour as he was forever in blue jeans! In addition to watching curling on TV he also loved to watch nature shows and shows depicting rough and tumble frontier living, like Alaskan Frontier. He also enjoyed reading the newspaper, particularly the Owen Sound Sun Times amidst others.
Playing cards, primarily solo, with the men was a great pastime, while Janice was still a child. While he loved to do this, Barb enjoyed a bible study with women. (They were just too cute!) Ken never lost his love of the land and enjoyed time spent outdoors. However, it was not always just hunting. Ken loved to work in his vegetable garden! He was a very helpful man always willing to do what he could for others.
Ken suffered from a stroke in 2018 that greatly affected his lifestyle. Although he recovered, life would never be the same. He and Barb continued to make the best of every day, enjoying each other’s company. Sadly, Ken suffered another severe stroke on Wednesday, April 24 and passed away at Grey Bruce Health Services, Owen Sound on Thursday, April 25, 2019 in his 86th year.
Loving father of Janice (Al) Rapp of Walkerton and Ron of Grey County. He will be remembered by his grandchildren, Jason Hamel, Laura Hamel, Katelyn Kaufman, Christina Kaufman as well as four great-grandchildren. Loving partner and friend of Barb Murdoch of R.R. #3 Hanover. Ken will be missed by Barb’s son Rob, daughter Cathy and grandson Chad; sisters Janelda (Harold) Lipskie of Simcoe, Elaine (John) Shantz of R.R. #4 Ripley and brother-in-law Maurice Byers of Chesley. He was predeceased by his sister Marlene Byers and his parents William and Matilda (Strucke) Kaufman.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Sunday from 7 - 9 p.m. where a funeral service honouring Ken’s life will be held on Monday, April 29, 2019 at 1 p.m. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
Memorial donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend